What organizations would want their networks to be, if only they had all the money, time and expertise in the world, is hardly a mystery. Indeed, in a way, the ultimate network is really about nothing more than the Olympics' motto "citius, altius, fortius" rephrased as "faster, more efficient, more reliable." Just how you go about building this network, however, is another thing entirely.
"It exists in utopia," says Info-Tech Research analyst Carmi Levy. "In reality, there's no such things as the 'ultimate' anything. The only way to achieve it is in the lab, and even then, that's probably not even realistic."
Although the ultimate network exists only in theory, what is realistic is to make it a target, Levy says. The best thing any organization can do is to take a tip from Friedrich Nietzsche's superman, whose "reach forever exceeds his grasp."
That's good advice, perhaps, but it begs the question of how you actually go about planning for the ultimate network, even if it's a goal you can approach without ever actually achieving it. Is it a question of spending bundles of money -- just like in the days before the dot-com bubble burst -- on the hottest equipment, infrastructure and software?
Well, top-end technology never works but Levy says that focusing on technology obscures the real paths to the ultimate network. "It really isn't a technology issue," he says. "These things never are. We're always throwing things onto the network without thinking about how they affect the network."
The key is to make sure that the architecture and the network roadmap are planned from the ground up. "Instead of a hodge-podge of processes, things have to be there for a reason," Levy says. "If they aren't, then they have no business being connected to everything else. You don't build a building without blueprints, and you shouldn't build a network without a roadmap."